I Believe Eye Can Fly!!
How airplane travel can affect your EYES and Tips on avoiding problems
Temperatures are warming up across the country and before you know it, it'll be time for summer vacation again. As soon as school lets out for the summer, Indians are expected to start heading to the airports in record numbers; but unless you plan ahead especially being health wise, you may run into some unexpected and unpleasant surprises.
The dry air in the cabins of modern jets causes rapid evaporation of tears from the eyes surface. Without sufficient moisture the cornea, which is the transparent "watchglass" that lies over the iris (coloured part of the eye) can be deprived of oxygen and cause your eyes to become irritated.
- Scratchy feeling in the eyes
- Vision can get blurred
What makes symptoms worse?
Reading on the plane adds to the problem because you tend to blink less frequently when you read, leading to more evaporation of moisture from the eyes.
Wearing your contact lenses during a long flight can result in symptoms ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain. This problem can occur with all types of contact lenses: hard, soft, gas permeable, or extended-wear.
When contact lenses are worn, oxygen reaches the cornea either through the lenses or dissolved in tears that flow under the lenses. The dry air in the cabin also evaporates the water from the contact lenses
Hence, if you are a contact lens wearer, it is better to wear spectacles in flight.
How can you avoid problems?
It is a good idea to put moisture-containing eye drops in your eyes during a flight as often as you feel they are necessary. The drops may be artificial tears or the lens lubricant or saline solution that you use.
Airline personnel who wear contacts and have discomfort should always use these drops routinely.
It may be wiser to remove the contacts and wear your eyeglasses when flying.
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SNOW CAN BE BLINDING
If you are escaping the summer heat and heading towards a snowy region, there is extra care you have to take as far as eyes go! We've all heard the expression "a blinding snowstorm". Though that refers to whiteout conditions where visibility is reduced, make no mistake, the snow can be blinding too. Bright sun reflecting on a blanket of fresh white snow can reflect damaging rays into unprotected eyes. The casualty may not be aware of the damage at the time - not feeling the effects for up to several hours.
Symptoms of snow blindness:
Use good ultra violet protected eyewear.
Other Eye Care Tips
Carry a spare pair of spectacles especially if you have high numbers.
Carrying your spectacle prescription may also be handy.
Most airports are equipped reading glasses for those above forty; also available are contact lens cases and solutions.
Speak to your eye doctor to prescribe you a simple and safe antibiotic eye drop in case of red eyes due to infection.
Avoid putting spectacles in pockets, as is commonly a habit, carry a pouch instead for safekeeping.
Other Health Tips While Travelling
Drink plenty of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages. A glass of water every hour is good.
Put a pillow behind the small of your back to avoid backaches.
Take an occasional stroll around the cabin. This is especially for those who are overweight or have high-risk conditions such as high blood pressure. By moving around you will decrease the risk of deep venous thrombosis, which in simple terms is blood clotting in the lower limbs.
Bring a sweater, shawl or jacket - airplane cabins are usually cool.
Use lip-balm, moisturiser and eye-drops/contact lens lubricant to combat the effects of cabin dryness.
The relatively low air pressure in your aircraft can cause discomfort. If your ears bother you during takeoff and landing, try yawning, chewing gum or doing this: pinch your nostrils shut, inhale, close your mouth and try gently to blow your nose. Children should be encouraged to drink or suck on sweets.
If you have a cold, the dry air will make your sinuses feel worse. If you are taking medications, carry them with you in the cabin. See your physician to rule out infection. Also, your fellow passengers will appreciate it because everyone is more susceptible to catching a cold in dry air than in moist due to the effect.
Comprehensive travel insurance is one of the best investments you can make when planning a vacation. Let's face it; no one likes to spend money on insurance. But the consequences of not having travel insurance can be so significant as to warrant the inclusion of a good policy in every vacation you take
Drink plenty of water. Don't drink too much alcohol, as it tends to dehydrate your body.
Do stretching exercises in your seat to avoid cramped muscles.
Walk around the cabin during your flight.
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
Be well rested before you leave.
Make sure your pre-flight diet contains plenty of starch, carbohydrates and greens.
Set your watch to your destination time as you take off. Then start programming your body to it.
Allow a day for each time zone to get over the jet lag.
There is a drug called 'Melatonin' for jet lag problems. It helps to control the body's sleep/wake cycle. However, your physician should advise it.